Louis Riel: heinous rebel or martyred leader in the quest for Canadian independence?
At the time, the Hudsons Bay company, with monopoly rights granted by England, and roots in the North West Company, controlled much of Canada (“Ruperts Land”) and was almost a law unto itself. Riel led the Métis people who lived in the huge area controlled by the company, and whose rights were ignored by the company.
Riel is portrayed as a rebel in most published material, but the times are changing and more people are inclined to see him in a good light. For interest, look in Canadiana’s heritage collection. He is mentioned in hundreds of pages in this vast collection, and here are just a few:
- The Globe newspaper in 1881 published claims that the Chief Justice E.B Wood of Manitoba altered documents to cause Louis Riel to be outlawed. According to this page, Wood “degraded the administration of justice by his unseemly conduct .. and gross exhibition of intemperance” http://heritage.canadiana.ca/
Here is the declaration of independence from Canada, written by John Bruce and Louis Riel.
Louis Riel and his unarmed band prevented a government survey by a Mr Webb.Here are news clippings about the incident, or “insurrection”.
You can browse in the vicinity of these pages.